Guest Post: The Great Parental Stabilizer of Music

Today I have my first guest post.  I asked my good friend, fellow doctoral student, talented teacher and administrator, and wonderful writer, Wendy Heckert, if I could re-post her story about her son.  Wendy’s research is about the relationships between students and teachers, and I think this piece beautifully conveys her belief in the power of meaningful connections and relationships.  Wendy has her own blog, the Melodies of Mommyhood.
My son, Edward, just loves to dance and sing. It has become my “go-to” for getting him out of his grumpy mood, which seems like every second of the day. Granted he has recently said good bye to the pacifier and is now in a toddler bed. He constantly argues with me by making grunting noises instead of answering “yes” or “no” even though he is quite articulate. This list of power struggles goes on and on. I soon find myself frustrated and about to have an adult tantrum. I know the 3s are more terrible than the 2s, and he is asserting his independence while testing boundaries.  However, this does not change the fact that I feel helpless when it comes to interacting with my son.  This cute, sweet little boy cannot be pleased and does not want to cooperate. I continue to try everything in my parenting toolbox. And let me tell you, the toolbox is pretty full.
This morning I had a realization. Edward is into Jake and the Neverland Pirates. With a DVD he received as a Christmas gift from Grammie came a 15 minute CD of songs from the show. He loved it. Like his Thomas the Train CD, he wanted to hear it over and over again. (If I heard it one more time, I think I was going to turn into a mommy pirate, but I bet my kids would say I was already like that most mornings:).
Well, this morning as I waited for the naked boy to choose to get dressed — I am trying the waiting method) —  I find another Jake CD on iTunes.  Immediately, Edward stands in front of the TV because that seems to be his dancing spot, probably because of the iTunes visualizer, and starts jumping and groovin’ like he is at a Phish concert. The song was “Rattle Ye Bones” and he started doing this movement with his arms out and elbows bent (see video below). I laughed and smiled. While it was only momentary, I saw the boy I adored. I remember a stranger commenting on Thalia, my older daughter, singing as a toddler. He said, “A singing child is a happy child.” I am glad Edward finds joy in music and that we can find peace in our relationship through melodies. Although, he does not always want me to sing. I guess he has to assert himself somehow. I think when I feel like walking the plank, I will play music instead.
My new mantra is: Breathe and play music!
Follow-Up: Had to turn off music to get Thalia to school. Edward went berserk! Note to self:  Don’t play new CD ten minutes before leaving the house. My blind fold is on and I am at the end of the blank. Jump? Nah, laugh, dance and sing! If children can find joy in melodies, then I can find joy in the cacophony of  toddler-hood. “Arg, mateys! Play the music!”
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